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Wyperfeld Trip Report

Our car needed repairs and I had a week of work so we resorted to hiring a AWD and decided to do some birding in easy to reach places. Our destination for the first night was the Pink Lakes campground in the Murray Sunset National Park. Unfortunately after hiring the car and packing it up we had no time for a visit to Lake Tyrell on the way, so headed straight for Pink Lakes and reached it just in time to set up the camp and enjoy the sunset. A few interesting birds were seen on the way, a single Cockatiel flew over the car in the town of Sea Lake, a couple of Pied Butcherbirds were on the side of the road just north of Nulawil and there were many Blue Bonnets along the roadside to Pink Lakes.

Due to the recent hot weather it was very dry with no water in Lake Crosbie however there were still a few birds near the campground including Mallee Ringneck. The next morning we headed for our most reliable spot for finding Striated Grasswren on Pioneer Drive. We have found this area to have a 100% success rate and this morning didn't disappoint us. However this morning they were a little more elusive than on previous visits, we got a few glimpses of them scurrying between triodia clumps before they went quiet and we lost track of them. While in the area we also saw a couple of Major Mitchel Cockatoo, a pair of Mulga Parrot feeding on the roadside and a family of Splendid Fairywren. A little while later we caught up with the Grasswren again but as before we had some fleeting glimpses before giving up and heading off.

Pink Lakes Trip List

The second evenings destination was the Casuarina campground at Wyperfeld National Park, due to forgetting our torch and dishwashing container we visited Ouyen on the way to make some purchases. We decided to approach Wyperfeld by the Ouyen-Pachewollock Road in hope of seeing one of the Malleefowl which have recently been seen along this road in high numbers. It was midday by the time we drove through the area so we were pleasantly surprised to still see one Malleefowl milling about out in the open on the side of the road. We stopped long enough for a closer look and to take a few photos but as you can see the bird was nervous about us being nearby so we headed off. A little bit further down the road we stopped to look at a pair of Chestnut Quail-thrush in the undergrowth.

We reached Casuarina campground mid afternoon, although quite hot there was still some activity in the campground. Two Western Grey Kangaroos sheltered in the shade, a Beared Dragon was also enjoying the shade. There were a few Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters and a party of White-browed Babblers foraging nearby. During the afternoon Inland Thornbill passed through and a White-backed Swallow was seen flying above the campground.

We were hoping to see a Striped Honeyeater which we had read frequented the campground but there were no sign of them. At sunset we walked along the sand dunes and saw Pink Cockatoos feeding on the grassland.

Next morning just after daybreak while visiting the 'mens' Paul came face to face with a pair of Striped Honeyeaters which had come to drink from a water leak from the hand washing water tank. Although it was just light we were still able to have a good look at them before they moved on.

Wyperfeld National Park - Casuarina Area Trip List

During the morning we walked along the sand dunes which surround the campground, we had a quick look at two Regent Parrots which flew overhead, other parrots were in the woodlands including Mulga Parrot, Mallee Ringneck and Red-rumped Parrot. There was also a party of Splendid Fairywren in the sand dunes.

In the afternoon we drove around to Southern Wyperfeld, it was very hot so we spent the afternoon driving around the Discovery Drive and took a walk around the Malleefowl walk. It was hot and humid and the air had a 'calm before the storm' type of feeling. There was not much bird activity, a few Emus were seen on the drive and a few other small birds such as Chestnut-rumped Thornbill and White-faced Honeyeater were seen while out walking.

At dusk a Southern Boobook flew into a tree in the campsite but only stayed a short while. The night was hot and a strong wind blew up overnight.

The next day it was still hot but also overcast and very windy. Not an ideal day for seeing birds. We still decided to do part of the discovery walk to look for Southern Scrubrobin and Redthroat although not hopeful of seeing either.

Just after the woodland section of the walk we were pleased to see two Regent Parrots flying over. After walking some way through the broombrush we heard two Scrubrobin calling to each other. After a bit of searching we were able to have a good look at one hopping amongst the brush. No Redthroat could be seen or heard during the walk.

Wyperfeld National Park - Discovery Walk Trip List

Afterwards we headed for Hopetoun to make a few phone calls before heading south to the Grampians. Along the road we noticed a dust storm had blownup, there were sections of the road where we were only able to see the headlights of the cars coming in the opposite direction.

While at Lake Lascelles we saw a small flock of Fork-tailed Swifts presumably on migration north, they were flying quite low over the lake and clearly seen with the naked eye, one even dipped down to the lake to drink.

Our intention was to spend a night at the Grampians however they were also shrouded in the dust and there was a strong wind, so reluctantly we decided to head home. On the journey back we had further sightings of Fork-tailed Swifts in Baccus Marsh, over the Merrimu Resevoir, then again in Brusnwick West. An hour or two later we saw many more flying over Brunswick. An interesting end to our trip.

Lake Lascelles Trip List

Mallee Sunrise

Last week we were camped on Pheeny's Track in the Murray-Sunset National Park where I made this recording of the sounds of a late summer sunrise. The recording captures the subdued birdsong of the Mallee habit.

In late afternoon the surrounds looked to be almost devoid of birds, with the exception of a handful of Honeyeater species and various Woodswallows. As can be heard from this recording the is actually quite a diversity of species including Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub Robin, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and White-fronted Honeyeater. There is allow moaning sound heard on several occasions that is possibly a Mallee Fowl, however I didn't see the source of the sound so it's a bit of a guess based on suggestions and the recordings which accompany the Morcombe iPhone app.

Vulkathunha Dawn

The sound of dawn bird song recorded amongst the trees lining a small valley on the edge of the Valkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, in South Australia. The recording location was close to Nudlamutana Hut where we spent several days on a recent trip.

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